by Dudley Sharp
RE: 'Dead Man Walking' nun: 'Botched' executions unmask a botched system, By Moni Basu, CNN, August 6, 2014
Format: The quotes are from the referenced article, followed by my REPLY.
1) "Ortiz maintains he was framed in a murder-for-hire scheme. Prejean believes his claim of innocence."
REPLY: The Sister has a history of false claims regarding innocence. One among many:
DEATH OF TRUTH: (1) Book Review: "Sister Prejean's Lack of Credibility: Review of "The Death of Innocents".
"The book is moreover riddled with factual errors and misrepresentations."
"Williams had confessed to repeatedly stabbing his victim, Sonya Knippers." (1)
2) "(Sr. Prejean) ministers to the worst of humanity because she believes in the restoration of life and that every human being deserves to be treated with dignity. That is what Jesus preached."
Reply: Just sanctions, including the death penalty, recognize the dignity of humans by holding them responsible for their actions, as can be found within over 2000 years of Catholic/Christian teachings (2), as with the execution of St. Dismas, the good thief, who was restored into eternal salvation (2).
3) "It's part of the attitude here (Angola Prison). You committed a crime so you must always suffer," Prejean says.
Reply: This is a consistent theme of Sr. Prejean - murderers as the victims.
As an almost universal rule, "always suffering" is not what the worst of the worst have in US prisons.
Prisons aren't concerned with punishment, they are about managing prisoners in a way that keeps the most peace, for all, inclusive of many perks for murderers.
Read "The Death of Punishment", by Robert Blecker
4) "You are a son of God," Prejean tells death row inmates. "Christ is with you. What is being done to you is wrong. I will be there for you."
Reply: Yes, that is most common. That the murderer is the victim, that the death penalty is wrong . . . . Sr. Prejean does no emphasize what she should . . . that the crime is wrong, that the innocent murder victim deserved to live, that the murderer should beg and pray for forgiveness, that murderers should feel fully responsible for their crimes and be accountable for them, in recognition of the horror of their crimes.
As Case Detective Michael Vernado reveals in his book, regarding the rape/torture/murder of Faith Hathaway, a "Dead Man Walking" case:
" . . . (Prejean's) trying to mislead people in the book (Dead Man Walking). And that's something that she's going have to work out with herself." "(Sr. Prejean's) certainly not after giving anybody spiritual advice to try to save their soul." (1)
In the Dead Man Walking movie, murderer Matthew Poncelet repeats the final words of one of the real murderers, Robert Willie: “I would just like to say … that I hope you get some relief from my death. Killing people is wrong. That’s why you’ve put me to death. It makes no difference whether it’s citizens, countries, or governments. Killing is wrong.” (1)
Here, tragically, hauntingly, it seems that Sister Prejean has taught Willie to be an anti death penalty activist. The crucial elements of atonement, expiation, responsibility, sorrow and forgiveness are replaced by the classic anti death penalty saying that all “Killing is wrong”, the amoral position of equating murder and execution, violent crime and just sanction, the guilty murderer with the innocent victim – the worst set of messages for the murderer’s redemption.
5) "Two troubled and recent executions in Arizona and Oklahoma, Prejean hopes, will trigger more opposition to carrying out the death penalty in the United States.
REPLY: For those who see murderers as the victims, it may help Sr. Prejean's efforts. But for those who look at the whole picture (3) of those two cases, they both provide ample justifiction for executions and no proof that either murderer suffered during their execution (3).
6) "A 2013 Gallup Poll found that 60% of Americans still support capital punishment . . . ".
REPLY: 86% US Death Penalty Support: Highest Ever - April 2013
7) "(Sr. Prejean) remains convinced that if people could see the brutality of killing a human being, they might reconsider their support for the death penalty."
REPLY: See the pattern? Sr. Prejean is talking of the peaceful execution of the guilty murderers, not the incredible brutality of the murder of the innocent victims. That is Sr, Prejean's norm.
Prejean finds that THERE IS NO GREATER SUFFERING , MENTALLY, THAN BEING A GUILTY MURDERER ON DEATH ROW (4).
Did she consider the mental suffering of a parent who lost their innocent daughter to a rape/murder or, possibly, the mental (and physical) suffering of that girl, as she was being raped and murdered?
Of course the sister considered it and she made her choice - the murderer.
8) "Death penalty supporters accuse Prejean of having empathy for undeserving, coldblooded killers."
REPLY: The problem that I have with Sr. Prejean is her dishonesty and her elevating the guilty murderers above the innocent victims. Christianity calls for mercy and forgiveness and holds folks accountable for their actions, that all sinners, be they saints or serial murderers, die because of their sins and that salvation is the available gift to all, should our redemptive heats achieve eternal salvation, through the grace of God.
From the parents of rape/torture/murder victim Loretta Bourque, a "Dead Man Walking" Case:
" . . .makes you realize the Dead Man Walking truly belongs on the shelf in the library in the Fiction category."
"Being devout Catholics, 'the norm' would be to look to the church for support and healing. Again, this need for spiritual stability was stolen by Sister Prejean." (1)
9) Prejean: " (the death penalty) is random, arbitrary and capricious and disproportionately meted out to minorities and poor people. Race plays such a huge role. If you kill a person of color you are not likely to be condemned." " Almost 42% of death row inmates are black even though African-Americans make up about 12% of the U.S. population."
REPLY: Based upon the known facts, the death penalty, by design, is the least arbitrary and capricious sanction (5).
White murderers are twice as likely to be executed as are black murderers (6).
All murderers, regardless of race of their victims, are, extremely unlikely to be condemned to death, as very few murders qualify for death and it is seldom sought (6). White victim cases dominate death row, only because white victims dominate in capital murders (6). The 12% population rate is irrelevant. The relevant issue is committing murder and capital murders(6).
"99.8% of poor murderers have avoided execution (7)."
"It may be, solely, dependent upon the definitions of "wealthy" and "poor", as to whether wealthy murderers are any more or less likely to be executed, based upon the very small number and percentage of capital murders that are committed by the wealthy, as compared to the poor" (7).
10) "The Harveys, Prejean says, could have watched Willie get electrocuted a thousand times and still it would never fill the void in their lives. Vernon Harvey, she says, was a thirsty man drinking a tall glass of salty water."
REPLY: Very sad that Sr. Prejean felt the need to do this. I spoke to Elizabeth Harvery several times. Of course, no matter the sanction, they would never fill the void in their lives. The void was that their beloved daughter was tortured and murdered. The death penalty is justice and guarantees that such murderers can never harm or murder, again, a very big deal to folks like the Harveys.
Sr. Prejean, Vernon Harvey was suffering from grief and sadness. It's is too bad you couldn't see that, instead turning into your self fulfilling prophecy for your own ends.
11) Prejean: "If a killer is sentenced to life in prison, he or she is locked up and never heard from again. But a condemned man?"
REPLY: First, there are many infamous lifers (8). Secondly, what well publicized death row inmate has not been presented by anti death penalty folks? Who made the murderers in Dead Man Walking famous? Tell anti death penalty folks to stop doing it.
1) Sister Helen Prejean: A Critical Review
2) New Testament Death Penalty Support Overwhelming
3) "This (Wood's execution in Az) doesn’t actually sound like a botched execution. This actually sounds like a typical scenario if you used that drug combination,” said Karen Sibert, an anesthesiologist and associate professor at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Sibert was speaking on behalf of the California Society of Anesthesiologists." "Transcript shows concerns during Arizona execution", Associated Press, Washington Post, July 25, 2014
No "Botched" Execution - Arizona (or Ohio)
Clayton Lockett: The Case for Execution
4) Prejean: Death penalty is torture, TimesLeader.com online, October 1, 2012,
5) THE DEATH PENALTY: LEAST ARBITRARY & CAPRICIOUS SANCTION
6) RACE & THE DEATH PENALTY: A REBUTTAL TO THE RACISM CLAIMS
7) Is There Class Disparity with Executions?
8) Charles Manson (heard of him?), John Gotti (Teflon Don) , David Berkowitz (Son of Sam), Gary Leon Ridgway (The "Green River Killer" ), Dennis Rader (BTK Killer), Lyle and Erik Menendez, Paul Bernardo (Canada), Roch Thériault (Canada) and on and on.
Richard Ramirez (The Night Stalker), yes, I know he was sentenced to death, but California judges do all they can to turn death sentences into life sentences. Ramirez died of cancer, June, 2014, after 25 years on death row